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More mountains in the Giro d’Italia – Reports and video from Italy, plus the Thüringen Ladies Tour, Ronde van Limburg and the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes. Lefevere talks Evenepoel – TOP STORY. Magnus Cort Nielsen extends with EF Education–NIPPO. Teams for the Critérium du Dauphiné, Vuelta’22 starts in the Netherlands, Euro Champs in Minsk in doubt and the up to date UCI Team Ranking. High mountains & Brutal conditions – INEOS Giro video.

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TOP STORY: Lefevere on Evenepoel: “His ego has gotten a dent, but he is combative”
Remco Evenepoel was the loser of the day on Giro d’Italia stage 16. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step young hope lost more than 24 minutes in the shortened mountain stage to Cortina d’Ampezzo and will probably not finish with a good classification. “His ego has been dented, but Remco is not hanging on the ropes,” said team boss Patrick Lefevere.

“I had no expectations for myself, you were always dreaming,” said Evenepoel to the press at the finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo. “I feel that it is getting less and less every day. Today it was just completely gone when it had to be done. It is part of the learning process and I will take it with me to next year.”

Lefevere protects his young rider. “Of course we had hoped for more, we are not going to be idle about that, but you can read and listen to all articles and interviews with me again: I did not go along with the hype,” the team manager said in conversation with Het Laatste News. “I wasn’t that crazy.”

“I have never forgotten that Remco could not start the Giro under normal circumstances. In January he was still a swimmer, he was only able to fully train for three months. Every year, at the start of the season, I give the same speech to the riders. ‘I’ve been to Lourdes three times, but I’ve never seen a miracle.’ The expectations were not realistic.”

Evenepoel seemed to become the main challenger to Egan Bernal after the first week. Lefevere: “That first week he came close to pink. At the time it seemed a good thing that the team should not bear the weight of the race yet, but at the same time I realised how good Bernal was. In retrospect it is a pity that he was not able to wear the pink jersey. Then it would have been a nice Giro.”

“His ego has been dented,” said Lefevere. “That boy had never lost. This is the first time that he has lost in sport. But I spoke to Klaas Lodewyck (sports director). Remco is not on the ropes and is competitive. After the gravel stage, his disappointment was greater.”

The big question now is whether Evenepoel will complete its first Grand Tour? The 21-year-old announced that he hopes to bring the Giro to a successful conclusion. “He’s not a coward hey, but we’ll see what will happen on Tuesday. We are going to evaluate his situation and then we decide. He’s not supposed to be physically broken, but I hear he’s not completely wrung out. I think he used his brain.”

Just because things didn’t go his way in this Giro, says nothing about his chances of success in a Grand Tour, according to Lefevere. “For me, all the results and figures that go with it can be thrown away because of that strange preparation. Remco’s figures are special, only at this moment and in these circumstances he has hit his limit. The people who know some of it all say this is normal. This is not the real Evenepoel.”

Remco Evenepoel stops the Giro d’Italia
Following his unfortunate accident on Wednesday’s Giro d’Italia stage 17, it has been decided that the 21-year-old Belgian will leave the race.

After finishing the stage in which he had looked strong and was riding with the group of main GC riders, Remco was involved in an incident that brought down several riders, both in front and behind him. He was able to finish the stage and was then examined by the team’s doctor. This examination has revealed there was no fractures, but he has suffered multiple skin lacerations and contusion of the second metacarpal of his left hand, caput radials, sacroiliac joint, patella and of the 8th rib, as well as bilateral bursitis olecrani.

Following the diagnosis the medical team decided that it would be best if Remco was to leave the race and recover completely as fast as possible, before working towards his goals for later in the season.

Remco was obviously disappointed with the outcome: “In the end it was a crash that shouldn’t have happened, I don’t know what really happened in front of me, but I came into the corner and saw some guys on the ground and I couldn’t pass on the right side because I was next to another guy, so I didn’t have any chances to avoid a crash. For now, there isn’t anything broken, but I have a lot of contusions, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to carry on with this pain. So I go back to Belgium and go for some CT scans. Then we will see.”

He reflected further on his first Grand Tour experience: “Of course it’s sad to leave the race, and my first Grand Tour too early, but in the end, it was a nice experience and I hope to be back one day again. I’m wishing the best to all my Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammates for the remaining stages.”

Remco is still young:
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Giro d’Italia 2021
Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) attacked on the climb of the Passo Giau and soloed to the finish in Cortina for the stage win and a bigger overall lead at the end of Stage 16 on Monday. Romain Bardet (DSM) and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) finished second and third at 27 seconds.

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There had been heavy rain and cold conditions predicted for the Queen stage 16 through the Dolomites, the organisers shorten the stage after some discussions. The loop with the Passo Fedaia and the Passo Pordoi was canceled due to the unpredictability of the weather. The stage was shortened from 212 kilometres to 153 kilometres, with La Crosetta (11.6km at 7.1%) at the beginning and the Passo Giau (9.9km at 9.3%) with the summit at 17 kilometres from the finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

A leading group of more than 20 riders took off from the start: Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Feix), the best placed Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and KOM Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën). After Bouchard had taken 40 points on the climb, six riders from the original leading group escaped on the wet descent. Vincenzo Nibali and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Gorka Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech), João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar). They had a 3 minute lead as they turned into the valley at the base of the Passo Giau. INEOS Grenadiers took up the chase. The six escapees had a maximum lead of 5:30. Just over 50 kilometres before the finish the dropped riders from the break were caught, after which EF Education-Nippo put men on the front of the peloton.

João Almeida was the best placed of the six leaders, at 8:32 down on the pink jersey. Formolo, at 9:52, was also a threat to the top 10. Before the Passo Giau, there was the non-categorised Colle Santa Lucia, 7.5 kilometres at over 7%. Ghebreigzabhier rode hard for Nibali, but he could not stop what was left of the peloton from getting closer. The pace on that climb was too high for Remco Evenepoel. Due to the work of Alberto Bettiol, the difference to Almeida, Formolo, Nibali, Pedrero and Izagirre dropped to under 2 minutes. At the foot of the Passo Giau the gap was 1:50. After a near-crash on a short descent, Gorka Izagirre disappeared from the front, while Formolo and Pedrero rode away. In the favourites group, there was bad luck for Aleksandr Vlasov, who got into trouble taking off his raincoat and had to chase. He was not the only one to be dropped. Simon Carr was able to thin out the chase group considerably for Carthy. Only Carthy, Bernal, Damiano Caruso, Giulio Ciccone, Daniel Felipe Mártinez and Romain Bardet could follow. Simon Yates was only just hanging on.

An attack by Egan Bernal 4 kilometres from the top caused the group of top men to explode. The maglia rosa left all his competitors and went past the last of the break. Caruso followed at 20 seconds and Bardet at 30. Behind them, Carthy and Ciccone were with another group including Yates and Vlasov at 1 minute from Bernal. The Colombian put the finishing touches on the top of the Passo Giau, the highest point of this Giro. Bernal was first to start the technical and misty descent to Cortina d’Ampezzo. He put Caruso and the rapid Bardet at just under 45 seconds. The group of Ciccone and Carthy followed at about a minute and a half, while Yates and Vlasov lost more than 2 minutes. In the final towards Cortina d’Ampezzo, Caruso and Bardet got together. As a result, they came to within 30 seconds of Bernal, who convincingly took the stage victory. The Colombian had time to take off his rainjacket to show the pink jersey at the finish line. Caruso and Bardet crossed the finish line 27 seconds later. A group with Almeida, Carthy and Ciccone followed at 1:18, while Vlasov lost 2:11. Tobias Foss crossed the line at 2:30 with Formolo, followed shortly by Yates.

Behind that, the differences were even greater. At the top of the overall, there was a lot of damage to Yates, who dropped to fourth place. Caruso is the new second placed, at 2:24 from the pink jersey. Carthy is now third at 3:40, while Bardet is seventh, Foss, ninth and Almeida in tenth. Remco Evenepoel lost 24 minutes and is now nineteenth.

# See the full ‘PEZ Stage Report’ and photo gallery HERE. #

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Stage winner and Maglia Rosa, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “I didn’t know what would be best for us today: a shortened stage or not. It might have been easier to control a long stage. We were ready for anything and it went well for us at the end. We did what we had to do. It was the queen stage so I had been thinking about it for a couple of days. I wanted to do something special today. You don’t win every day and you win even less often wearing the Maglia Rosa, so I knew I had a bit of time to take my rain jacket off. I had to do it. I’ve said a few times that the Maglia Rosa reminds me of Marco Pantani. I don’t have any photos of myself at home but I have a caricature of him, it’s the only picture of a cyclist at my house! Now with a 2:24 lead, even if I have a more difficult day in the mountains, I should be able to handle the situation.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious):“Although the race was shortened, the intensity was high all day long, as we expected. I felt good on the last climb. I was looking at the faces of other contenders, and I could understand at that moment that I was almost the strongest, except for Bernal, of course. I tried to follow the Maglia Rosa but I couldn’t. So I focussed only on my tempo and doing my best until the end. The morale now is high, for sure. I want to say thank you to my teammates because they did a great job also today and to all the staff that helped provide extra clothing during the race, and with such bad weather, it’s something vital. Now, we will enjoy the rest day, and then after tomorrow, we will start again with the last fight.”

6th on the stage and 10th overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I felt good today despite the rain and cold. I wanted to go for the stage win, that’s why I attacked and joined that move, but the peloton was really strong and rode really hard, as they had other plans today. In the end, it wasn’t a bad day. I did my best and I’m happy to have gained a few places in the general classification. There’s still a long way to Milano and a lot of hard stages left, but we’ll continue to take it day by day and see where that takes us”

7th on the stage and 4th overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech): “When I started to take off my jacket, somehow a sleeve touched my wheel, immediately blocking it. I had to stop to solve the problem but fortunately our car was not far behind, so I got help from our mechanic. Well, with support of my teammates I tried to come back to the group, but it did not work out because I was quite far behind. It’s a disappointing moment, but it was how it was, nothing I can do about it. We did our best to the finish line but I still lost time to my rivals. I felt really good today and my teammates did a great job for me, but the luck was not on our side today. However I am not going to give up and I will keep on fighting in the third week.”

5th overall, Simon Yates (BikeExchange): “I would have preferred to have been closer to the front, to the guys who were fighting for the podium, but that’s how it goes. I did my best and I’ll continue to do that in the coming stages and enjoy a well-earned rest day tomorrow. It makes a difference [the cold weather], some riders tolerate it better than others, normally I’m ok and today I was not so cold, but I think just a combination of serval factors meant that I was unable to be where I wanted to be. It is was a difficult stage, not what I was looking for, but I did my best. The victory is a bit far away now, but the podium is still well within reach, so we’ll keep the head up, keep the chin up and go from there.”

Felix Großschartner (BORA-hansgrohe): “Today was a brutally tough day. Matteo and I tried to get into the break, and we ultimately made it. On the first descent, the group split somewhat, and six riders were able to go up the road. They ended up being really strong. I have to admit that I didn’t feel the best. I really suffered on the first climb, and much of the day went in quite a similar way. However, then again, everyone who knows me will also know that I’m a fighter and I don’t give up easily. I’ll try again in the next few days and hope to have a better day then, to be able to fight for a stage.”

19th overall, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Losing that much time shows that I didn’t have a good stage and I really felt the fatigue of the past two weeks in my legs, there’s no shame in admitting that. I said even before that I didn’t have any expectations coming into the race after that lengthy injury and with just two months of training, so I don’t think everyone thought I could be in top form for three weeks. At the same time, it’s a learning process that I am sure will help me in the future. I am happy for João, he worked hard for me in the last couple of days and deserves to be in the top 10, so we’re going to help him in the next stages to remain there.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Result:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 4:22:41
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 0:27
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
4. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:18
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 2:11
8. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech at 2:31
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 16:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 66:36:04
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 2:24
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 3:40
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 4:18
5. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 4:20
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 4:31
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 5:02
8. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:17
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 8:20
10. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 10:01.

Giro stage 16:

 

Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) has added Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia to his palmarès. In Sega di Ala, the Israel Start-Up Nation Irishman finished solo after dropping the last riders of the break on the final climb. Behind the Irishman there was a big change in the top ten and overall leader, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) cracked on the final climb. Simon Yates (BikeExchange) moved up the standing with a bold move in the finalé. Bernal is still in pink.

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From the start there were many riders trying to escape. After 40 kilometres, a strong leading group formed: Jan Hirt, Quinten Hermans, Andrea Pasqualon, Deceuninck – Quick-Step had Knox and Serry, Movistar with Jorgenson and Pedrero and UAE Team Emirates with Conti and Covi. Plus: Gianni Moscon, KOM Geoffrey Bouchard, Dries De Bondt, Simone Ravanelli, Luis León Sánchez, Giovanni Carboni, Felix Großschartner, Matteo Badilatti, Dan Martin and Jacopo Mosca. Dan Martin was the best on GC, in 12th place more than 15 minutes down on the pink jersey. The 19 escapees started the climb to Sveseri after 55 kilometres, with a 50 second lead. De Bondt was first ahead of Bouchard. The first intermediate sprint was in Trento after 91 kilometres. De Bondt was ahead of Andrea Pasqualon. The lead had increased to 5 minutes as BikeExchange did the work in the peloton. The leading group started the first tough climb with more than 3:30 and it did not take long before the first of the break were dropped. Martin clearly had good legs and put the pressure on. He was accompanied by Moscon and Pedrero. Bouchard and Badilatti also tried to keep up with the Irishman’s pace. Bouchard was eager to take mountain points at the top.

Bouchard managed to join the leading trio just before the top and take 40 mountain points. Mikel Nieve of BikeExchange led the peloton at a fast pace and his acceleration had reduced the gap with the four up front to 2:30. On the descent there was a crash of several riders in the peloton. Giulio Ciccone went down, as did Vincenzo Nibali, Nick Schultz and Remco Evenepoel were also involved in the crash. After a short delay, they were able to get back on their bikes. Knox and Serry were in early break, but had returned to the peloton, where they rode for João Almeida, who wanted to ‘have a go’ on the final climb to Sega di Ala. Due to the hard work of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the difference to the leading group at the foot of the climb had decreased to 1:20. In the first kilometres of the climb, Martin put in his attack to go solo, but the peloton was getting close. INEOS Grenadiers took control of the race, which caused problems for Aleksandr Vlasov. Ciccone, who fell in the descent of the Passo San Valentino, was also in trouble.

Vlasov and Ciccone were distanced, and Hugh Carthy, third overall, and Romain Bardet, seventh, couldn’t keep with INEOS Grenadiers’ pace. With 4 kilometres to go, Almeida attacked. Then Yates shot towards the Portuguese rider together with Bernal and Daniel Felipe Martínez. On the steep parts of the climb, Bernal was having problems. The Colombian saw Almeida and Yates ride away, while his teammate Martínez was waiting for him. The dropped Caruso was able to return to Bernal. Almeida pulled away from Yates with 1K to go and launched himself after Martin, although the Israel Start-Up Nation leader still had 30 seconds. That turned out to be enough for the stage victory. Martin is now a stage winner in the three grand tours. At 13 seconds, Almeida crossed the line in second place. Yates finished third at 30 seconds. Ulissi finished fourth, Caruso fifth. Only after 1:23 Bernal crossed the line, behind his teammate Martínez in seventh. He lost, including the bonuses, 57 seconds on Yates. Bernal remaines in the lead. Caruso is still second, at 2:21. Yates is now in third place, at 3:23. Vlasov and Carthy lost time and dropped to fourth and fifth.

# See the full ‘PEZ Stage Report’ and photo gallery HERE. #

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Stage winner and 11th overall, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation): “The shake of my head when I crossed the line says that I didn’t think I was going to win. My plan was to make the breakaway today but with the very strong headwind, especially in the valley, it killed the momentum for our group. At the bottom of the climb I was not very optimistic, but I’ve been feeling very good the past week or so, so I went hard and dropped my breakaway companions on a steeper section. I did a recce of this climb after the Tour of the Alps. It’s a really aggressive climb that can provoke some good racing. I knew the steep section was coming and I also knew a few of the GC riders and others would attack in the steepest section. I was hoping to hold a good gap with 3km to go, and then go as hard as I could. In the end I paced the climb very well. I can’t believe it. I came here with the idea of winning a stage, it’s really something to have pulled it off. The Giro is a beautiful race that I haven’t managed to ride many times.”

Maglia Rosa and 7th on the stage, Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “Possibly, it would have been better to recce this final climb because the last 2km weren’t extremely hard. But it’s impossible to see all the stages beforehand and I haven’t lost much time, so on a day that wasn’t my best, it went quite well. I tried to follow Yates but when I realised that I couldn’t, I looked behind to take the wheel of Caruso and tried to avoid being dropped by him too. For sure I’m not unbeatable but you see the ‘grinta’ of the riders in the difficult moments. Others were just stronger than me today. It was great to have a friend like Dani Martinez along with me. All I want is to remain focused until the end of the Giro.”

2nd on the stage and 8th overall, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I don’t think we could have done more than this. The guys protected and worked for me, they produced a strong effort in the valley as we approached the last ascent. Then, as I was feeling good, I just tried on the last climb I just tried, and to be sincere, I didn’t expect to have those gaps or to gain more places in the general classification. Second on this hard climb and eighth overall gives me more motivation and confidence for the remaining stages.”

2nd overall, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious): “Today was one of the hardest stages of this Giro. The last hour and a half was really full gas, especially the last climb, which was super hard, and as I expected, Yates attacked, and he made the difference on the last climb. But I felt good, and even then, I kept my tempo to the finish, and the gap was quite okay and under control. Well, I couldn’t follow him, so, in any case, I didn’t have any options left but to keep my tempo. Then when I saw the Maglia Rosa, Bernal, suffering like me, my morale went up because I realized that it is really hard for all of us at this moment.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Simon Yates (BikeExchange): “I attacked and I didn’t realise Egan was dropped until a bit later, I was already going full so it wasn’t like then I could accelerate any more to try and increase the gap. We missed the breakaway and I wanted to have a go for the stage today, by the time the breakaway had gone there was only 60km or so before the first climb of the day, it wasn’t a huge job for us, it wasn’t like we had to ride 200km on the front and burn all the team. They did a great job, so chapeaux to them and now we will see what I can do the next days. I hope the weather stays like this, everyday it has rained I have not had a good day, so hopefully the weather stays the same and I can see what I can do in these final days.”

4th overall, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech): “I didn’t feel that good all day long. The team stayed around me and supported me really well but on the final climb, I decided to ride my own rhythm because I wanted to lose as little time as possible. I had great support from Vadim Pronskiy and in the end, I did my best to save the day. I was able to catch some of my rivals before the finish and I was close to some others. So, overall, I was able to save things as much as possible but, of course, it was not the best one for me. We will see what happens in the next days.”

KOM, Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën): “I managed to get into the breakaway for the fifth time at this Giro. On the first category climb I managed to claw back up to the three leaders with 700 meters to go to the summit. I’m happy to extend my lead in this jersey but I will have to get into the breaks again if I am to have any hope of keeping it until Milan.”

Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux): “Quinten Hermans and Andrea Pasqualon worked hard for me. They took turns in the front group and kept the gap for many kilometres. I thank them very much for that, they were admirable. After their efforts in the valley, I was keen to finish the job off. Unfortunately, our breakaway did not get much advantage from the peloton. But this is only a postponement. Usually, I reach my best level after the second day of rest in a Grand Tour. This means that I will continue to attack as there are still a lot of climbs to come. We are an attacking group with nothing to lose. We are motivated to try again and again. And who knows, maybe as a team again like today.”

Matteo Fabbro (BORA-hansgrohe): “It was a really hard stage. We tried to go in the break and Felix made it. In the penultimate climb, he came back to the group of favourites and tried to stay with them. I gave it my all to follow the GC group as much as I could but in the last climb, with about 8km to go, I wasn’t able to keep up with the pace any longer. It was very hard.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation in 4:54:38
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:13
3. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 0:30
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:20
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:23
7. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
8. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 1:38
9. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 1:43
10. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 2:21.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 17:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 71:32:05
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 2:21
3. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 3:23
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 6:03
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 6:09
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 6:31
7. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:17
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 8:45
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 9:18
10. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 11:06.

Giro stage 17:

 

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LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour 2021
Emma Norsgaard won the opening Stage 1 of the Thüringen Ladies Tour. After a stage of almost 90 kilometres, with start and finish in Schmölln, the Danish leader of Movistar was the first over the finish line. She held off Lucinda Brand and Lotte Kopecky. Norsgaard also took the overall lead.

After a fast opening section, a leading group of ten riders formed after about 20 kilometres. Among them Amy Pieters, Christine Majerus (SD Worx), Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma), Valerie Demey (Belgium) and Liane Lippert (DSM). The lead of the ten never exceeded 1 minute. At 25 kilometres from the finish, seven riders managed to make the crossing. Elena Cecchini (SD Worx), Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), Romy Kasper (Jumbo-Visma), Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) and Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) joined the leading group with a few others, making a leading group of 17 riders. The difference with the chasing peloton then fluctuated around 30 seconds for a long time. The cooperation up front was excellent, taking the lead up to 40 seconds. In the final, 9 leaders managed to break away from the others, after which the Danish champion claimed victory on the cobbled streets of Schmölln, ahead of Lucinda Brand and Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky. This is the fourth victory this season for Norsgaard. The peloton crossed the line more than a minute later.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Emma Norsgaard (Movistar): “This team is unbelievable. Yes, I know I say it every time I win, but this team is crazy good. I’m so proud to be a part of this, and today it was incredible, really. The way they worked, to get us back into contention after that early break so I could bridge back, was so good, I’m just so, so happy! Once I got through that final QOM, the last kilometre was mostly downhill, on cobblestones, and to be honest, I was so scared with that finish. With 1k to go I just took the front, thinking: ‘Ok, hopefully nobody will pass me’. In the end, it paid off! (Laughs). I don’t know if it’s easier to win or not now that I’ve got those Luxembourg victories behind me, but as a team, we have such a great spirit and we’re willing to sacrifice everything for each other. This is what makes the victory easier, from my point of view. Now that we have the leader’s jersey, of course we have to defend it and work hard, but with this team, everything is possible. I feel like this is the best team I could have, so I’m not nervous at all.”

Thüringen Ladies Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar in 2:17:42
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgium
4. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
6. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM
7. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM
8. Kristen Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:04
9. Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT
10. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope at 0:07.

Thüringen Ladies Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar in 2:17:32
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgium at 0:06
4. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
6. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 0:10
7. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM
8. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:13
9. Kristen Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:14
10. Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT.

Thüringen’21 stage 1:

 

Lorena Wiebes won Stage 2 of the Thüringen Ladies Tour. In Gera, DSM’s Dutch rider was the fastest in the peloton sprint. Emma Norsgaard crossed the line second and kept the yellow jersey.

On the second day of the Thuringia Ladies Tour, the women’s peloton raced through the east of Thuringia, around the city of Gera. The course consisted of two big laps of 62 kilometres each. The climb to Kaltenborn, with the last crossing eleven kilometres from the line, was decisive. At first it was Amelie Hild who attacked, then Katharina Fox also tried to ride away. Even before the first intermediate sprint after kilometre 14.8, everything was back together. Lotte Kopecky was the first at the sprint, ahead of Aude Biannic and Elizabeth Deignan. The pace was high, but then it was another RSG Gießen Biehle rider who tried. Helena Bieber rode ahead for a while, but could not prevent Kathrin Hammes from being first on the first ascent of the Dürrenberg. On the descent it then came together again. Hammes was also the first to round the top of the Kaltenborn. On the descent Fox attacked again and after 60 kilometres she had a minute. Fox was ahead for some time, but was caught again with 40 kilometres to go. In the run-up to the last climbs of the Dürrenberg and Kaltenborn, nervousness grew. In Dürrenberg, Hammes was again the first to go through, taking the mountain jersey. In the finalé, the pace was very high, so that the peloton thinned to about sixty riders. In the end a sprint had to make the decision. Lorena Wiebes was clearly the best of the pack, ahead of Emma Norsgaard and Christine Majerus.

thuringen

Stage winner, Lorena Wiebes (DSM): “Today was a bit of an easier stage than yesterday,” Wiebes said after completing her podium duties. “We controlled the race and staying in front the whole race and then with the lead-out we did a really good job getting into a strong position. The team placed me coming into the important last two corners where I could start my sprint in a great position. It gives us great confidence going into the coming days.”

Thüringen Ladies Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM in 3:24:12
2. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 0:01
3. Christine Majerus (Lux) SD Worx
4. Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAM
5. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgium
6. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Susanne Andersen (Nor) DSM
9. Gladys Verhulst (Fra) Arkea
10. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Thüringen Ladies Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar in 5:41:36
2. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Belgium at 0:10
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:12
4. Anna Henderson (GB) Jumbo-Visma at 0:16
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) SD Worx
6. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM at 0:17
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 0:19
8. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:21
9. Kristen Faulkner (USA) Team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:23
10. Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT.

Thüringen’21 stage 2:

 

limburg
Ronde van Limburg 2021
Tim Merlier won the Tour of Limburg on Monday after a chaotic final. The leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​was the best sprinter in Tongeren, but that was after break rider Brent Van Moer, who was just under 10 seconds ahead of the peloton, was sent in the wrong direction in the last kilometre. Daniel McLay (Arkéa-Samsic) was second and John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) took third.

The leading group of the day emerged after more than 60 kilometres. Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) was the only WorldTour rider in the escape, together with Cedric Beullens (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Sven Burger (BEAT Cycling). They took a maximum of 4 minutes on the peloton, which was controlled by Alpecin-Fenix ​​and Qhubeka Assos. In the hilly section more than 50 kilometres from the finish, there was a big attack in the peloton. This resulted in thinning out. Frederik Backaert (B&amp,B Hotels), Jules Hesters (BEAT Cycling) and Alex Colman (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) joined Burger and Van Moer, who had dropped Beullens. Burger also couldn’t hang on shortly afterwards. He was caught by the peloton, which was at less than half a minute. Van Moer and Backaert remained in the lead the longest. They were joined by Daan Hoole (SEG Racing), Tom Paquot (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB) and Colman from the peloton. Lotto Soudal slowed the peloton and the leading group took a minute. Alpecin-Fenix ​​and Qhubeka Assos had to work.

On the cobblestone section of Manshoven, 16 kilometres from the finish, Van Moer rode Backaert off his wheel, who was caught by a strong Hoole, but they were caught by the peloton. The difference was then reduced from 45 seconds to 35 seconds and then 25 seconds, but time trial talent Van Moer held up well on the road to Tongeren. Three kilometres before the finish, the gap was still 25 seconds in favour of Van Moer, but due to the work by Uno-X and Arkéa-Samsic, the difference came down to 13 seconds, but Van Moer looked like he would hold out in the twisting final. Until he was sent down the route for the team cars by a signalman standing in the middle of the road, and so what was remaining of the peloton sprinted for the victory. Tim Merlier, who abandoned the Giro d’Italia last week, came round Dan McLay in the last corner. John Degenkolb came third, as a consolation prize for Lotto Soudal.

merlier

Race winner, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix): “I put my hands in the air, but didn’t really know if I had won. At 500 meters from the finish, a few had gone wrong, so I completely lost sight of the situation. Florian Vermeersch also went wrong there, but I didn’t see it because we rode so hard there that I didn’t have time to think. At first I did, because I raised my hands in the air. Then I thought, oops… But luckily I do win. So we played a little bit, but in the end everything ended well. I am better than last week, and the feeling was good again during training. I was certainly not one hundred percent, but I won the race so I can’t complain. Now I will first recover, and then I will ride Straight through the Hageland, the Elfstedenronde and the Baloise Belgium Tour.”

Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal): “Contrary to what many people claim, I did prepare the race well on the basis of Veloviewer. The final was also clearly discussed by our sports director during the briefing. But the signalman gave me a clear direction to turn right. The signalman waved the flag and I followed his instructions. But unfortunately it soon became clear that something was not right. Then disappointment struck immediately, of course. I defended a lead of about a dozen seconds, but you will certainly not hear me say that I had won, especially with the uphill finish. Unfortunately we will never know, but I really felt strong. I would have taken peace with being caught 25 metres from the finish. But what has happened now is one of the worst things you can experience as a rider. But I also have to remember the positive aspects of today. I did not train specifically towards the Tour of Limburg, but rather towards the Critérium du Dauphiné, the national championships and a beautiful summer with a few more beautiful classics where I want to show myself. At least in this form I show that I can win races.”

Ronde van Limburg Result:
1. Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix in 4:41:35
2. Daniel McLay (GB) Arkéa Samsic
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Qhubeka Assos
5. Bram Welten (Ned) Arkéa Samsic
6. Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
7. Stan Van Tricht (Ned) SEG Racing Academy
8. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
9. Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
10. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon dhb SunGod.

Limburg’21:

 

mercantour
Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes 2021
Guillaume Martin convincingly won the first edition of the Mercan’Tour Classic. On the final climb to Valberg, the Cofidis rider was by far the strongest in the one-day race through the Alpes-Maritimes. Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Bruno Armirail were second and third.

As in the mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia, the first edition of Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes was also shortened due to bad weather. The start was changed, so that the riders would not race 173, but 143 kilometres. This left the climbs of La Colmiane (7.5km at 7.2%), Col de la Couillole (16km at 7.3%) and the final climb to Valberg (12km at 7.4%). A favourites group of about 30 riders was still together after La Colmiane. On the Col de la Couillole, Roland Thalmann (Vorarlberg) tried to go solo. Cofidis and AG2R Citroën were in control and only gave the Swiss rider no more than a 1 minute lead, but that disappeared on the penultimate climb of the day.

Mathias Frank (AG2R Citroën) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) then escaped and they started the final climb with 45 seconds on the others. Guillaume Martin and Aurélien Paret-Peintre joined in, as did Bruno Armirail and Jérémy Cabot. At 6 kilometres from the finish, Perez launched his Cofidis leader Martin with a strong sprint. The French favourite continued solo, for the win. Behind him, Paret-Peintre claimed second place in a sprint, ahead of Armirail.

mercan'tour

Race winner, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis): “I thank the whole team. We had the favourites poster and we had a perfect day, a bit like what we prepare on the blackboard. We have never been caught, not even on the descents when the AG2R wanted to put pressure on us. We really kept the race in our possession. From start to finish, everyone played their part. In the final, there was Anthony Pérez, who was very strong, and he managed to get to the front to help me. We were playing on the razor’s edge. When I got back to him, I told him to accelerate with 5 km to go, which he did perfectly. That was enough to make a difference and I just had to finish. It’s a great day for Cofidis. It confirms our good dynamics and I am very happy to finally raise my arms with this team.”

2nd, Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën): “Pretty happy with my return to racing. I had not raced since Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 25) and to be able to finish in second place on a difficult race like this one is pretty satisfying. I’m coming off an altitude training camp where we were able to pile on a lot of kilometres and climbing, and we could reconnoiter the course. Today, we raced really well as a team and that’s motivating for the future. Nevertheless, on the last climb, Guillaume Martin was able to take off alone and I was left playing for second place. Now it’s time to focus on the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday where I hope that my form will continue to improve.”

Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes Result:
1. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis in 4:23:56
2. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën at 1:42
3. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis at 2:40
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R Citroën at 2:43
6. Adrià Moreno (Spa) Team Vorarlberg at 2:53
7. Jérémy Cabot (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 2:56
8. Roland Thalmann (Swi) Team Vorarlberg at 3:05
9. Idar Andersen (Nor) Uno-X at 3:20
10. Jaakko Hänninen (Fin) AG2R Citroën at 3:36.

Mercan’Tour Classic’21:

 

ef nippo
Magnus Cort Nielsen extends with EF Education–NIPPO
Ask Magnus Cort Nielsen how his time at EF Education-NIPPO has been so far, and his answer is to the point: “Happy!”

We are very happy, too — Magnus will ride with the team for years to come.

Since he joined us in 2020, the 28-year-old Dane has won stages at the Vuelta and Paris-Nice and been a force of nature for his teammates in one-day classics, week-long stage races, and Grand Tours. At the hardest moments of the hardest races, in rain, snow, or blazing sunshine, we can count on him to be there, ready to ride until he can’t turn over the pedals. And when he gets his chance to go for a long break or sprint at the end of an exhausting stage, we know he has the speed, cunning, and determination to win. Off the bike, he brings wit and charm to the group, in addition to his world-class hotel reviews on social media.

Magnus is a true original.

His determination was bred on Bornholm, a rugged Danish island in the Baltic Sea, where he was born and raised. It’s there that he earned his adventurous spirt and no-nonsense attitude. He had to move away when he was 16 to pursue his bike-racing dreams, but still returns whenever he can to visit family and go hiking, or ride bikes with his friends from sunrise to sunset like he did when he was a kid.

At home in Andorra, Magnus fills his days with adventures, too. He is as hard as nails and diligent with his training, but when he isn’t traveling the world from one bike race to the next or doing specific workouts to prepare for big events, he’ll take off on expeditions into the high Pyrenees with his skis or grab his tent for a few days of bike packing. He has a big trip to Mount Kilimanjaro planned for this upcoming off-season. We’re looking forward to his ‘hotel’ reviews from the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain.

And we’re excited to see what he will do in his pink EF Education-NIPPO jersey. Magnus’s powers on the bike are boundless. He has already won stages at the Tour de France and the Vuelta. Could he add one at the Giro and join the elite club of riders who have won a stage in all three grand tours? How about Milano Sanremo? The Italian monument has his name written all over it. Few riders can be faster at the finish of a race of 300 kilometres. One thing is certain; Magnus will make the most of every chance he gets.

“The Tour is obviously coming up not too far from now. I hope for another stage win there,” he says. “I hope to get a few stage wins over the season. And I hope and believe that I also can step it up in one-day races and maybe take a big win in a one-day race. That would be something and something I’m missing in my palmarès.”

Magnus isn’t just concerned with his own results though. “I can help the team out on almost all terrain. I won’t be the last guy with the GC leader in the big mountains, but I can be there both on flat and hilly roads, and also in team time trials.”

Magnus Cort Nielsen:
Magnus Cort Nielsen

 

dauphine
Critérium du Dauphiné 2021 – Thomas in the Crosshairs

dauphine

The cycling world is not quite the same when Slovenia leaves it for a while. It might have seemed incongruous two years ago, but it is obvious when you realise that the winners of the last two Grand Tours have chosen unusual routes to prepare for the race of all races, the Tour de France. As mountains and pelotons hate emptiness, there will be several contenders for the title in the final weekend, first in Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse and then in La Plagne and Les Gets. The 2021 entry list shows that the Ineos Grenadiers team intends to get this race that it last won in 2018. That summer, Geraint Thomas won both the Dauphiné and the Tour. The recent winner of the Tour de Romandie comes into this year’s edition with the same desire as his teammates, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte.

The strong position of the dark blue jerseys on the start line should not stifle the temperament of their rivals, on the contrary. A lot of attention will also be paid to the Spanish-speaking riders, whether they come from Colombia like Miguel Ángel López and Nairo Quintana or from Spain like Ion Izagirre, Enric Mas, the indestructible Alejandro Valverde and up and comer Alex Arranburu. The context is also favourable for the breakthrough of a star in the making, like the Americans Brandon McNulty and Sepp Kuss, winner of the last stage in Megève in 2020. The French clan can’t be overlooked either: David Gaudu was on top form in the Tour of the Basque Country as well as in his Ardennes campaign, Guillaume Martin’s regularity paid off with the win in the Mercantour Classic, where he was followed in the general classification by Aurélien Paret-Peintre, whereas Warren Barguil has made a speciality of creating a surprise when he is least expected to do so. An even bigger surprise could come from the only three-time winner of the Dauphiné present in the peloton, now sporting the jersey of Israel Start-Up Nation. Chris Froome still has a score to settle with this race. This is the moment.

21 teams, the main contenders (on 26 May):
Australia
Team BikeExchange: Bookwalter (Aus), Grmay (Eth)

Bahrain
Bahrain Victorious: Poels (Ned), Colbrelli (Ita), Teuns (Bel)

Belgium
Deceuninck – Quick-Step: Sénéchal (Fra), Asgreen (Den), Jakobsen (Ned)
Lotto Soudal: Wellens, Gilbert (Bel)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert : Meintjes (Zaf), Vliegen, Bakelants (Bel)

France
AG2R Citroën Team : Paret-Peintre (Fra), Van Avermaet (Bel), O’Connor (Aus)
Groupama-FDJ: Gaudu, Madouas (Fra)
Cofidis : G.Martin, Perez (Fra), Geschke (Ger)
Team Arkea-Samsic: Barguil (Fra), N.Quintana, Anacona (Col)
B&B Hotels P/B KTM : Rolland, Gautier, Pacher (Fra)

Germany
Bora-Hansgrohe: Kelderman (Hol), Kämna (Ger)
Team DSM: Haga (Usa)

Great Britain
Ineos Grenadiers: Thomas, Geoghegan Hart (Gbr), Porte, Dennis (Aus), Kwiatkowski (Pol)

Israel
Israel Start-Up Nation: Froome (Gbr), Impey (Zaf)

Kazakhstan
Astana Premier Tech: I.Izagirre, Aranburu (Spa), Lutsenko (Kaz)

Netherlands
Jumbo-Visma: Kruijswijk (Ned), Vingegaard (Den), Kuss (Usa)

South Africa
Team Qhubeka-Assos: Aru (Ita), Gogl (Aut)

Spain
Movistar Team: Lopez (Col), Mas, Valverde (Spa)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: McNulty (Usa), Kristoff (Nor)

United States
EF Education – Nippo : Craddock (Usa), El Fares (Fra)
Trek-Segafredo: Pedersen (Den), Stuyven (Bel), Elissonde (Fra)

Key points:
Ø
For the 73rd edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, which starts on Sunday 30 May with the first stage in Issoire, some of the favourites are in the ranks of the Ineos Grenadiers team, which is entering 2018 winner Geraint Thomas, along with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richie Porte.

Ø The battle for the win in the resort of Les Gets at the end of a confrontation over eight stages promises to be daunting with opponents from Colombia (Miguel Ángel López, Nairo Quintana), Spain (Ion Izagirre, Alejandro Valverde) and France (David Gaudu, Guillaume Martin), all of them able to come from nowhere in the mountains.

More information about Critérium du Dauphiné on https://www.criterium-du-dauphine.fr/en/

 

deceuninck
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Critérium du Dauphiné
Kasper Asgreen and Fabio Jakobsen will be in action at the eight-day stage race

This year’s Critérium du Dauphiné can be split in two: a first part where the sprinters and the puncheurs will have several opportunities, and another one consisting of three demanding mountain stages – including one to the famous La Plagne (17.1km, 7.5%), which makes its debut at the race – where the fireworks between the GC contenders are guaranteed. In between, an undulating individual time trial held in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region that will reshuffle the overall standings and give the climbers an incentive to attack on the big ascents.

Winner this season of the Ronde van Vlaanderen and of the Volta ao Algarve ITT, where a dominant ride propelled him onto the overall podium, Danish Champion Kasper Asgreen will be at the start of this 73rd edition, taking place between 30 May-6 June. Fabio Jakobsen, who at the beginning of April made his return in the peloton, is set to start his first World Tour race in ten months, with Shane Archbold, Josef Cerny, Ian Garrison, Fabio Jakobsen, Florian Sénéchal and Stijn Steels completing the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for the French event.

“Earlier this month, Kasper rode a solid Volta ao Algarve and will have again a free role to see what he can do and how far he can go in the mountains. It’s nice to have also Fabio here, as he continues to ease back into competition one race at a time. We have a good team for the Dauphiné and we hope to get some nice results, especially as there will be a couple of opportunities in the first stages. The boys are motivated and can’t wait to race again as we start our second part of the season”, said Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Wilfried Peeters.

30.05–06.06 Critérium du Dauphiné (FRA) 2.UWT
Riders:

Shane Archbold (NZL)
Kasper Asgreen (DEN)
Josef Cerny (CZE)
Ian Garrison (USA)
Fabio Jakobsen (NED)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Stijn Steels (BEL)
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

dec

 

astana 2021
Astana – Premier Tech to play multiple cards at Critérium du Dauphiné
Astana – Premier Tech is set to line up at the Critérium du Dauphiné with an ambitious team targeting the General Classification and stage wins at the eight-day race.

Ion Izagirre will make his debut at the French stage race where he will lead the Kazakh – Canadian team in the General Classification battle. The Itzulia Basque Country stage winner is looking to build on his early season results, with top ten finishes at three WorldTour stage races to his name.

“It is the first time that I will race the Critérium du Dauphiné in my career but I don’t think that will be a big factor. The idea is to try to and be as high as possible in the General Classification but we know that it is one of the big pre-Tour de France races, with the majority of the Tour de France favourites, so it will not be easy. But we are also aiming for a stage win which would be a great result for the team. We have a good, strong team, with Alex Aranburu and Alexey Lutsenko lining up as well. I think after our training camp in Tenerife, we will arrive in good shape and see exactly how the condition is. It’s true that this if the race before the Tour where you can see exactly where you are, how you’re going physically, and we are really motivated for a good race,” – said Ion Izagirre.

Team Performance Manager Dmitriy Fofonov highlighted Astana – Premier Tech’s versatile roster which includes fellow Itzulia Basque Country stage winner Alex Aranburu and Kazakh road race champion Alexey Lutsenko. The duo will target stage wins and will be joined by Dmitriy Gruzdev, Yuriy Natarov, Benjamin Perry and Oscar Rodriguez at the start line.

“We are now approaching an important time in the season in the lead up to the Tour de France and as always, the Critérium du Dauphiné is a big objective for the team. Ion Izagirre will have the team’s full support for the General Classification and we are confident he can do well in what will be his final preparation for the Tour de France,” – said Dmitriy Fofonov.

“This year’s edition is a tough one and as always, the GC will come down to the mountain stages in the final weekend. Alongside Ion, we have a strong team that will also target stage wins and for this we have two good cards to play in Alex Aranburu and Alexey Lutsenko. After a good altitude block in Tenerife, the riders are in good shape and are looking forward to testing their form in France.”

Criterium du Dauphiné (30 May – 6 June)
Rider roster:

Alex Aranburu (ESP), Dmitriy Gruzdev (KAZ), Ion Izagirre (ESP), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ), Yuriy Natarov (KAZ), Benjamin Perry (CAN), Oscar Rodriguez (ESP).
Sports Directors: Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), Steve Bauer (CAN).

astana

 

ag2r cirtoen
Critérium du Dauphiné (May 30 – June 6)
Jaakko Hänninen will participate for the first time at the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Finnish cyclist took 10th place this past Monday at the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes.
Greg van Avermaet: “I am motivated to do this race especially because I have not participated in it since 2016. I know it’s an important test for the team, and takes place in a beautiful region. I have not raced since April 24th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Consequently, I do not know how my legs will answer, but I will try to get some good results in the stages that suit me. It will definitely be a good preparation for the Tour de France. I had an excellent training camp in the Alps with the team. Despite the weather, we climbed 20,000 meters in the course of our training rides. I am convinced that effort will pay off.”

ag2r

 

dsm
Critérium du Dauphiné MAY 30 – JUN 6
Wilbert Broekhuizen – Team DSM coach: “We’re looking forward to racing again at Critérium du Dauphiné. We head to the race with a nice group, with our young riders and the experienced Chad and Martijn who can help guide them through the week. We want to be aggressive throughout the race and will look for the best possible strategy to go for day results, with different opportunities available to us throughout the week. It will be a hard week of racing but we’re excited for it.”

Line-up:
Marco Brenner (GER)
Felix Gall (AUT)
Chad Haga (USA)
Martin Salmon (GER)
Martijn Tusveld (NED)
Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
Ilan Van Wilder (BEL).

Chad Haga:
haga

 

vuelta22
La Vuelta’22 Will Depart From the Netherlands
Holland will once again embark on the journey towards fulfilling its great project – to host the official departure of La Vuelta 22. The Dutch city and province of Utrecht and its neighbouring North Brabant will be the protagonists of the start of La Vuelta’s 77th edition. The Netherlands were already prepared to host the first three stages of the 2020 edition but the COVID-19 health crisis forced the organisation to cancel any stages held outside Spanish territory.

vuelta22

The preparations that were in place for the 75th edition of the Spanish tour will, therefore, be carried out in the 77th. Utrecht will be the star of the team presentation, the initial time trial and the finish-line for the second stage, that will begin in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, capital of the Province of North Brabant. The third stage will cover said province with the departure and finish-line both located in the city of Breda.

A New Official Departure From the Netherlands, 13 Years Later
The Dutch municipalities of Breda, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Utrecht, as well as the province of the same name and neighbouring North Brabant, are thrilled to take up this project again. La Vuelta thus celebrates an official departure from The Netherlands again, thirteen years after the last time the race’s peloton passed through Dutch territory.

vuelta22

The Director of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, expressed his enthusiasm for the official departure of La Vuelta 22. “To return to The Netherlands, which is the quintessential cycling nation, is something we’ve been wanting to do for a very long time. Holland is a guarantee for success in terms of organisation and I have no doubt that, despite the complexity of the current situation, we will be able to carry out the event safely and successfully. In 2020 we were forced to make a decision that we never wanted to make, but which we were compelled to make given the circumstances. Despite everything, the Netherlands’ commitment and wish to host La Vuelta hasn’t changed a bit since then. It’s a pleasure for us to work with institutions that are so committed and that love cycling as much as they do”, he explained.

The 2022 edition will be the second edition of La Vuelta to take off from The Netherlands, after Assen 2009, and the fourth to take off from abroad, after Lisbon 1987, Assen 2009 and Nîmes 2017. The city of Utrecht will act as the local coordinator. Both Utrecht and the Province of North Brabant have vast experience hosting large sporting events in general, and cycling events in particular.

The official departure of La Vuelta 22 is even more special, if that’s possible, due to the close historical links between Spain and The Netherlands, and the current common projection they both have in terms of environmental protection and sustainability policies. Both of these criteria are, undoubtedly, decisive when it comes to organising the official departure in Holland.

vuelta22

A Common Project
The official departure of La Vuelta 22 is the fruit of an intense and continuous process carried out by all the relevant institutions. Besides guaranteeing the reception and organisation of an elite sporting event, such as the launch of the Spanish tour’s 77th edition, the organising committee of ‘La Vuelta Holanda’ and all its partners work together to create an extensive festive and sports activity program that will surround the peloton of La Vuelta 22 in its official departure from The Netherlands.

The five municipalities and provincial institutions involved have joined forces to fulfil this project and will continue to work together in order to bring it to life. The private sector will also be closely linked to the event’s financing and will formally request a state subsidy from the Dutch Government’s Ministry of Health, Wellbeing and Sports.

More information about La Vuelta: www.lavuelta.com

Joop Zoetemelk (winner of La Vuelta 1979), Javier Guillén (General Manager of La Vuelta) and Jan Janssen (winner of La Vuelta 1967):
vuelta22

 

header UEC
UEC Elite Track European Championships
In light of the recent international events, the Union Européenne de Cyclisme is carefully monitoring the situation and will make a decision at the Management Board meeting on 27 May 2021 regarding the Elite Track European Championships in Minsk (Belarus) from 23 to 27 June.
No other comments will be published before this date.

Maybe no track champs in Minsk:
euro sprinters

 

uci
UCI Team Ranking
The UCI has updated the 2021 Team Ranking this week. A big change, because INEOS Grenadiers is the new leader of the ranking. Deceuninck – Quick-Step has not scored any points in the past week, while the British team took more than 300.

INEOS Grenadiers is now 27 points ahead of Deceuninck – Quick-Step. Third place is, almost 1,600 points behind, for Jumbo-Visma. Behind that, UAE Team Emirates, Alpecin-Fenix ​​and BORA-hansgrohe maintain their positions at the top of the UCI Team Ranking. Further up in the top 10, Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain Victorious switch places.

Movistar has taken over tenth place from BikeExchange, which dropped to twelfth. The successful Qhubeka Assos also makes a leap in the ranking, past Arkéa-Samsic and Lotto Soudal. And outside the top 20, EF Education-Nippo has lost a place at the expense of Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB.

Next week, there should be a lot of changes in the UCI Team Ranking, because the final points from the Giro GC and the other jerseys will take effect.

UCI Team Ranking (on May 25, 2021):
1. INEOS Grenadiers – 6,746 points
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step – 6,719 points
3. Jumbo-Visma – 5,151 points
4. UAE Team Emirates – 4,501 points
5. Alpecin-Fenix ​​- 3,904 points
6. BORA-hansgrohe – 3,533 points
7. Trek-Segafredo – 3,336 points
8. Bahrain Victorious – 3,314 points
9. AG2R Citroën – 3,305 points
10. Movistar – 3,131 points
11. Israel Start-Up Nation – 2,953 points
12. Team BikeExchange – 2,921 points
13. Astana-Premier Tech – 2,761 points
14. Groupama-FDJ – 2,746 points
15. Cofidis – 2,386 points
16. Qhubeka ASSOS – 2,324 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,277 points
18. Lotto Soudal – 2,138 points
19. Total Direct Energy – 1,764 points
20. Team DSM – 1,402 points
21. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,256 points
22. EF Education-Nippo – 1,221 points
23. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert – 1,117 points

Alpecin-Fenix ​​has been the best ProTeam in the UCI Team Ranking for weeks. The Belgian team is now on 3.904 points. The difference with second placed Arkéa-Samsic is more than 1,600 points. Total Direct Energie and Bingoal Pauwels Sauces-WB are the third and fourth placed ProTeam. B&B Hotels was fifth last week, but that place has been taken over by Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Best five ProTeams in the UCI Team Ranking (on May 25, 2021):
5. Alpecin-Fenix ​​- 3,904 points
17. Arkéa-Samsic – 2,277 points
19. Total Direct Energy – 1,764 points
21. Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB – 1,256 points
24. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA – 1,112 points.

INEOS take the lead in the UCI team ranking:
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ineos grenadier
High mountains & Brutal conditions
As the battle for the Giro d’Italia heats up, our team pulls closer together. In Grenadiers Off-script Episode #4, take a look at the behind the scenes highlights during a pair of key mountain stages as Egan Bernal extended his race lead.


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